Loving Those Who Drive Us Crazy!
Paul writes, “Love is patient and kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). Most of us find that we can love those who are easy to love, but what about those who are hard to love or those who drive us up the wall?
We have been told to love, for love is not an option. We have been given by the Spirit the ability to love with agape love. Patience is another name for love, for Paul explained that “love is patient.” Therefore, as we work through our difficult relationships, we will need to be patient. The meaning of the word patience (in Greek, macrothumea) is “long-suffering” or “slow to anger.” Love suffers because it is the nature of love to suffer. Remember what C.S. Lewis said: “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken!” But there is no alternative. We are not only called to love, we are also commanded to love.
Such love means loving not only when your heart is whole, but loving when your heart is broken. It means loving when the person you are trying to love is continuously hurting you afresh. Long-suffering means that love suffers well. Being inordinately fond of myself, I don’t “do” pain very well. In fact, I don’t do pain at all if I can help it! Do you? Who’s for pain? The whole ethos of our society, as C.S. Lewis said, is to “embrace pleasure and eschew pain.” It takes a radical act of God in our lives to so change our hearts that we are willing to embrace pain and eschew pleasure – to suffer for the sake of love! Yet, if that’s what it takes to love someone, it must be done.
God is very good at loving people who hurt Him and are very hard to love. When Jesus was frustrated with the disciples one time, He said to them, “How long must I suffer you” (Matt. 17:17)? He then went on “suffering” them for a considerable time because He knew that this was God’s will for Him and He willed to do God’s will. Long-suffering means being patient with an insufferable situation or person – even when you are hurting badly yourself – because it is the will of God. It hurts terribly to love at times like that, but that is what agape love does.
How long does your patience last? Does it last 120 years, 120 minutes, or 120 seconds? To have the patience God wants us to have, we need Jesus. Patience loves on to give time for God’s redemptive power to do its work. Love gives us the power to suffer long when we desperately want things to change.
Kindness is Patience in Action
Paul says that not only is love patient, it is also kind. Kindness is the active part of patience. Patience is being good, while kindness is doing good. Kindness is goodness showing. Love is kind to those who would do it harm. Jesu ...
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